Today, I talk to my wonderful friend (and one of my all-time mentors) Karen Rinaldi, who has written a book all about how attractive it can be to suck at something – and she even shows how you can learn to love it when you fail.
It’s changed my life. I know it will change yours too.
What’s Something You Won’t Be Afraid to Suck at?
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And the arms go up as we prepare for Eagle and then we swoop in and there it is. I can see why they call it the Eagle, very majestic. That tucks and that leg comes all the way around that leg which is, that’s pretty close. And, full Eagle. Oh God. And into resting blog pose.
Now you may be wondering why I would do yoga if I suck at it so bad. Well recently I had an epiphany courtesy of my dear friend and the publisher of the New York Times best-selling book Get the Guy, Karen Rinaldi. Karen recently wrote a book called It’s Great to Suck at Something, and I have been itching to interview her on this subject because I think it’s fascinating in a world where people are increasingly unwilling to make themselves vulnerable and make mistakes. A world where we curate our public image constantly. We always want to be seen to be doing things well, to be living life at the highest level. We so rarely allow ourselves the freedom to actually suck at something.
When I interviewed Karen we talked specifically about how the concept of sucking at something applies to your love life and your dating life. Check it out. The audio isn’t as good as it normally is from us, because we screwed up on the audio on this one. But I think that’s pretty fitting on a video that talks about sucking at things. Check it out and I’ll see you at the end of the clip.
Matthew: “The stereotype is that if you do something well, that’s hot, right?”
Karen Rinaldi: “Yes.”
Matthew: “But there is something very, very attractive about someone who has complete abandon, and can suck at something. Can do something they’re not good at, but without that self-consciousness.”
Karen Rinaldi: “Right.”
Matthew: “What do you think is attractive about that?”
Karen Rinaldi: “Leaving your ego at the door is really sexy. Just think about people who just, you know, when you watch them in a moment of abandon, right? And it could be a moment only. You ever watch your…oh it could anybody. It could be your kid, it could you parent, it could be your friend, it could be a lover, right? And you see them across the room and they don’t know that you’re watching them, right? And they’re just kind of going on and goofing off, and they’re being like silly or something and you catch this moment. That is so much sexier than when they’re all dolled up and all kind of like ready to go, ‘Hey baby,’ you know? And you’re going, ‘Ah.’ No, it’s that moment of abandon and that letting go of the self-consciousness and ego. It’s so sexy, I mean, I feel like we’re forgetting that. I think we’re just not paying attention to those moments enough. And that’s a shame, because that’s really what, you know, again that’s where all the good stuff is hiding, right?”
Karen Rinaldi: “So, a greatest first date in the world, in a way, not the greatest but one of the great first dates or early dates, would be go do something that neither one of you can do.”
Karen Rinaldi: “If you can’t ice skate you should go ice skating together. You’re both going to fall, you’re going to feel like idiots, and you’re going to laugh and you’re going to get straight down to your vulnerability.”
Matthew: “It’s authentic.”
Karen Rinaldi: “And you’re not going to be able to hide from that. That would be a good date.”
Matthew: “I like it.”
Karen Rinaldi: “You know?”
Matthew: “I like it.”
Karen Rinaldi: “It’s like that kind of brings you down to earth. I always think that the word for ‘humility’ and ‘humiliation’ have the same root. So, humility is awesome, humiliation is one of the most painful things in the world. They actually have opposite balances and they come from the same thing. Which is about, you know, from ‘humus,’ which is the earth. So, it’s like being brought down to earth. So, isn’t it interesting that we take this word and we kind of go in opposite directions, which is humility makes us more grounded and more self aware. And humiliation is our fear. One is grounded-ness and one is being afraid of…I don’t know even know what the interpretation…of being like on the ground.
Matthew: “You know that makes me think that the difference–they have the same etymology–the difference between them is meaning, right?”
Karen Rinaldi: “Yes.”
Matthew: “And both humiliation and humility–”
Karen Rinaldi: “Mm-hmm” [affirmative].
Matthew: “They’re both going to bring you down to earth, but depending on which one, you’re going to decide the landing. Right?”
Karen Rinaldi: “Beautifully said. That is beautifully said, exactly.”
Matthew: “You’re going to come crashing down, or you’re going to land in a way that you enjoy.”
Karen Rinaldi: “Yes.”
Matthew: “And humility is just the acceptance, you can’t be humiliated if you accept–”
Karen Rinaldi: “Your humility.”
Matthew: “You accept where you are, who you are.”
Karen Rinaldi: “I was going to say they’re over here, but they’re actually this close.”
Karen Rinaldi: “So it’s really your framing and your value on it.”
Karen Rinaldi: “So it’s up to us, right?”
Matthew: “It comes down either way, you choose the landing.”
Karen Rinaldi: “You choose the landing. And it could further your experience and it can stop you. Your choice.”
Karen is one of those people that whenever I happen to be in New York she is one of my first people to call to go and have lunch with, because I always want to absorb what’s in her mind. And the funny thing is she’s been talking about this book for years. I’ve literally been talking to her about the “suck at something” concept for a long time. And it’s only just come out. That’s why I’m so excited about it because I have been waiting for her to release this work. I have read through this book cover to cover now and it has actually inspired me to do things I wasn’t doing before. I am now doing yoga despite sucking at it, in fact, because I suck at it.
What are you going to suck at? Leave us a comment. What’s something that you’re going to do, not even necessarily to get better at it but just because you want the joy of doing it. Because I believe on so many levels there are psychological benefits to doing something that you’re not good at. To going through that process to being humbled by it, and I also think in the context of what we talk about a lot on this channel, it will make us all more attractive, more relatable, and more enjoyable people to be around.